Social enterprise operation Oomph! is putting £4 million pounds into a radical excursions service for people in care.
A roll out will start in five regions following a successful pilot. Leading care groups WCS Care, HICA and Cumbric Care Group are amongst those using the Out and About service from March when minibuses will start hitting the roads to take residents to premium locations such as museums, music and sports events, botanic gardens and art galleries as well as outings to markets, pubs and farms.
Oomph!’s concept offers expert day trip planning with minibus transport and on-board conductors in order to achieve economies of scale for travel and access to carefully researched destinations.
Within three years the firm plans to operate excursions nationwide. Expansion will be rapid with a fleet of 100 within 12 months rising to 300 vehicles by 2020 by which time Oomph! will be rolling out half a million individual journeys per year.
Oomph! already has a presence in care settings nationwide where 38 thousand Oomph! exercise classes are delivered each year.
The rapid growth of the service has been made possible with £1.5 million equity investment from three sources. Barchester founder and care industry expert Mike Parsons, the Care and Wellbeing Fund and Nesta Impact Investments.
Oomph!’s founder Ben Allen said: “Care home owners have told me of their dismay for residents who’ve not been outside for months. We just can’t accept that so many vulnerable people are stuck indoors due to funding cuts and financial pressures.
“The Out and About model takes the expense and hassle of excursion planning and transport purchase, leasing and away from care providers. We are effectively helping individual homes and groups in an area to club together to make day trips affordable for all whilst each still gets exclusive use of the service for their service users. Connecting with meaningful places, passions and communities must not become a luxury for a minority.”
Mike Parsons, founder of Barchester Homes, became chair of Oomph! in 2016 and has put over £1 million into the business. Investing £300,000 of his own money into this venture he said: “This is a no brainer for care services, Out and About excursions will significantly enhance the offering of providers currently unable to afford regular day trips and provide a much savvier option for those burdened with the costs and logistical issues involved in running their own outings.”